My second highlighted artist in the family is my mother, Melinda Taylor.
For as long as I can remember, Mom has been artistic and creative. As a child, I watched in awe as she brought out her wooden paint box filled with tiny tubes of oil paints. That box, to me, smelled heavenly. Between the wood, the paint, the odd stick of oil pastel, and the paint thinner, it was a treasure chest of wonder.
Then Mom would prop up a canvas before herself, and begin painting. Just painting—with maybe a light pencil drawing to guide her, and a photograph nearby for reference, but nothing else. Then worlds would begin to appear before my very eyes. Mom’s skies were always one of her best subjects—she’s incredibly talented at mixing colors, and the blue she could achieve looked…well, real to me.
Then the next best part—she’d let me “help.” Amazingly talented as a mother, also, she always included her (at that time) four children in whatever craft project she was working on. Imagine that—she must have had a longing to express her individuality through her art, yet she lovingly made every piece a family project. Child-sized fingerprints became leaves on trees. Totally disproportionate brush strokes were woven into the composition of the painting.
When Mom’s work was completed, I would gaze at it in awe. It looked real—and as a budding artist myself, I was convinced I’d never be able to master realism of that kind. But I would go back to my grown-up art materials—which Mom and Pop always gave me, from the start…no “kid’s version,” it was all “real”—and start working away. At least I could try.
This particular painting of Mom’s—which is entitled “September is Here”—is one of the first paintings she’s done in a while. Life has been busy—and her creative adventures have turned toward quilting and other forms of textile art recently. This painting expresses the blending of those two interests—the vivid autumn leaves are made from tiny shreds of fabric, which have been collaged onto the canvas and painted over. I can turn my head right now and look at this painting on an easel behind me. One ray of late afternoon sunlight touches it—and instantly I’m transported to another location. It looks real.
My Mom borrowed my art materials for this painting. The grown-up ones, of course. Life comes full circle.
Dang, I need a Kleenex.